Start Solo

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Start Solo is used during activities related to Ideation in the Human-Centered design process


“This is not a team sport”

Time required: Minimum of one minute, typically five or more

What is Start Solo?

  • ‘Start Solo’ means taking a few minutes to silently jot down ideas before blurting them out when asking people to share in a group

When do I Start Solo?

  • Any time there is a gathering of more than two people for the purposes of sharing ideas

What are the benefits?

  • Prevents the person with the loudest voice from controlling the conversation

  • More varied input because you avoid priming everyone with the first answer they hear

  • More varied input because you have the first thoughts of everyone in the room

  • It’s a great way to draw out introverts or newcomers without putting them on the spot

Trauma-Informed Considerations

  • Younger children exposed to trauma have an increased likelihood to experience learning disabilities.They may lack self-confidence, which could lead to them feeling reluctant to write down ideas on paper

  • Sensitive topics that participants may have experienced can be triggering and lead to feelings of reliving the events. For these participants, ensure that the topic is shared in advance, there are ample opportunities to opt out during the session, and that there are resources on-hand if needed

Additional Tips and Tricks

  • Sticky notes let you write down your ideas by yourself first, then compile and share them as a group

  • To change the subject in a conversation, you can ask “does anyone have a contrasting idea they would like to share?”

  • If you hope to collect ideas/sticky notes at the end of the session, let people know in advance so they don’t write anything they don’t want published

Why not try incorporating Starting Solo into your next meeting?